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Judge Brett Cullum • Location: Houston, TX
• Member since: July 2004
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Brokeback Mountain
January 1st, 2006 10:16PM

I just got back from a sold out art house screening of Brokeback Mountain. All I can say is it is definitely the bravest film of the year, and it succeeds in doing what it sets out to do. When I read the short story a few months back I thought it was an impossible project to turn in to a film. But somehow they do a great job with it, and the film is something to be admired. It deserves the hype!

The performances are flawless. Heath Ledger as the laconic cowboy who half mumbles his darkest emotions is like an exposed nerve. He's never been this multilayered or lost himself so well in a character. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a wide eyed innocent this time around, a 180 turn from his darker role as Donnie in that movie with the apocalyptic bunny. Both Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway surprised the hell out of me by turning in performances they both have barely hinted at being able to deliver in their previous works.

Ang Lee is still one hell of a visualist. He photographs this one for all its worth, and makes everything real and contained in a way we've never seen him do before with all his mythic wire work and green eyed monsters before. He gives the entire film a melancholy lens that fits it to a tee.

It's by no means a perfect film. There are moments that seem a little lacking, and I felt some reserve in trying to tell a love story. The cast and director keep claiming that is what this is, but they let it slip in to something a little more disturbing. It's about yearning for a world you can never have. One that you think can never exsist. It's about how never being able to say "I love you" can tear your soul apart more effectively than any heartache ever could. Get over it, it is not a gay movie. These cowboys aren't marching out in a Pride parade with their shirts off, or foresaking the rodeo circuit for The White Party in Palm Springs. No, this film is about never being able to express your feelings. Never being able to identify an ache. It's about the loss of dreams and hope. I don't think you have to be gay to get that.


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